Coronation Street actress Bhavna Limbachia has said she did not mean to offend the LGBT+ community by having her gay character killed off in the soap.
Limbachia’s character, Rana Habeeb, died in a factory collapse in Wednesday’s episode, on the day of her wedding to Kate Connor (Faye Brookes).
Rana was trapped when the building came down, leaving her wife-to-be waiting at the church.
When Kate found out what had happened, she rushed to be at her fiancee’s side and the pair shared their marriage vows before Rana died under the rubble.
Viewers were devastated over her death, which had been requested by the actress herself in order for the character to bow out of the show in a “fitting” way, with members of the LGBT+ community airing their upset.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, host Phillip Schofield read out a number of tweets to Limbachia, including one that said: “Yet another LGBT character killed off, when are you going to learn that there are other ways to tell a story?”
One tweet said: “The gays and lesbians are never allowed a happy ending”, and another read: “Rana had two successful weddings to a man, then she dies on her wedding day to a woman? I can’t comprehend it.”
Limbachia said: “My decision to leave and be killed off was never meant to offend the LGBT+ community.
“It was made in the same way I’ve tried to portray the character throughout the years, and that’s with truth and integrity, and my decision to leave and have her killed off was made with the decision of two people being in love and their love being pure, regardless of their age, their gender, their sexuality, their religion.
“So the intention was never to offend the LGBT community. It was purely for two people being in love. I guess it was modern-day Romeo and Juliet, or a Juliet and Juliet love story.”
Limbachia, who joined the soap in 2016, said it was her decision to kill off Rana, because it was the only way to end her story.
She said: “I was trying to come up with reasons why Rana would leave Kate, but they have fought so hard to be together, and I was wracking my brain for weeks trying to come up with a reason, and, truth is, she would never leave Kate.
“I believe their love is so pure, and they fought so hard to be together, the only way they could be apart is if the decision was taken out of their hands.”
The actress said she is “excited to see what the future holds” for her upon leaving the soap, where she said she had become “comfortable”.
“I’ve spent a good part of two years crying on screen, so I’d love to do some more comedy and some drama,” she said, adding that her dream would be to star in TV drama Killing Eve.